Former City Employee Says He's Been Contacted Regarding Patrick Daley's Involvement In City Sewer Contract
A federal investigation is now underway over a city sewer contract that involved the son of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
As CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports, Patrick Daley and the mayor's nephew invested in Municipal Sewer Services in 2003, but one former city employee says federal investigators are asking questions about it now.
A tearful Mayor Daley, responding to reports of his son, Patrick, and nephew Robert Vanecko's investment in a sewer company that did business with the city said, "I hope those people understand that Patrick is a very good son. I love him, and Maggie and I are very proud of him. I hope you respect I have nothing more to say on this."
Now, a former city sewer worker says the FBI wants to know more about those deals, and, through his attorney, asked to interview him.
"I believe there is definitely an investigation 'cause there is no way… I felt like them contacting me showed me they're pretty serious about getting to the bottom of this," said former city worker Frank Coconate.
Coconate worked for the sewer department for 27 years but was fired in 2005. Since then, he's been a vocal Daley critic. In this case, Coconate says Municipal Sewer Services, the company Daley and Vanecko invested in, was doing taxpayer paid work for the city, even though city crews could have done the work themselves.
"Here's this kid owning a company to clean sewers when we have the equipment and the manpower sitting in the yard," Coconate said.
Coconate says when he questioned those M.S.S. crews, his bosses told him they were Daley's people, and to leave them alone.
Better Government Association investigator Dan Sprehe says questionable contracts aren't the only concern. The timing of Patrick Daley's disclosure and who, with the city, knew about his connections and when are also potential problems.
"We just are continually hit with this barrage of things that stink," Sprehe said. "Of course, the question is, with M.S.S.'s business skyrocketing, what what was behind all that?"
In a statement to employees, M.S.S. Chairman Robert Bobb acknowledges there were "a number of mistakes or oversights with regards to filings," and that the person responsible is no longer with the company. He also states Patrick Daley and Vanecko's "investments were passive" and "made long after the company had been awarded city contracts."
Mayor Daley's spokesperson, Jackie Heard, says she's not aware of any federal investigation into the matter.
As for city workers and trucks sitting idle while the private, M.S.S. crews worked instead, Heard says she's still checking on that.
The FBI told CBS 2 the agency cannot confirm or deny the existence of any investigation until an arrest is made.